THE SELF-MANAGEMENT OF PAIN: CONDITIONING AGAINST PAIN AND THE ACCEPTANCE OF PAIN IN PURE FORM

Conditioning becomes possible through the calm state of mind induced by the exercises. We subject ourselves to minor painful stimuli. We are not disturbed. Gradually we use more severe stimuli; we maintain our calm of mind and we are still not disturbed. In a little while we can tolerate quite severe stimuli without discomfort. By the process of conditioning, we come to be less disturbed by pain in general. This is possible only by virtue of our relaxed and regressed state of mind while we are doing the conditioning.

The Acceptance of Pain in Pure Form-This is the last of our six principles in the

self-management of pain. You may find it more difficult than the others to understand. Actually it follows quite naturally from the practice of the other principles. If you have too much difficulty in believing that pure pain—that is, pain devoid of any psychological reaction—does not really hurt, then concentrate on the other principles which you can understand more easily. Then, when you have mastered them, you will come to realize of your own initiative the fundamental truth of this last proposition —that pure pain does not hurt.

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